Electoral Reform, Part 3: Mail-In Voting- The Root of the Evil

The biggest problem in 2020 was the use of mail-in ballots taking the place of the good, old-fashioned, and time-honored tradition of showing up at your polling station and casting a vote.  One can argue that there was rarely the level of frustration and belief the vote was rigged or manipulated when this system was used.  To be sure, there were incidences of tabulation errors and glitches with voting machines and such.  In 2000, the confusing butterfly ballot in Florida was blamed.  In 2004, Democrats complained about Diebold machines in Ohio.  But, for the most part those complaints are the outliers.

There will not always be a coronavirus to deal with and come 2022, it may fade into memory.  The unsubstantiated fear of going to a polling place to cast a vote will be gone.  It is funny that people worried about standing in a polling place socially distanced wearing a mask, but not worried when they bumped into people at a WalMart or the local liquor store.

Currently, pre-pandemic, five states exclusively used mail-in ballots- Colorado, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, and Utah.  These states are not the epicenter of the debate over the adequacy or integrity of mail-in ballots since they had well-established guidelines in place in which voters and those counting the votes knew the rules.  In all other states that used mail-in ballots during the 2020 election, the rules were made up ad hoc and on the fly- sometimes by the courts and other times by election officials.

If a law states that mail-in ballots must be postmarked by a certain time on a certain date, that is the law.  What we saw in Pennsylvania, for example, was the state supreme court rewriting election law that should never have happened.  Extending a deadline three days then making assumptions of the late-arriving ballot as being valid defeats the whole purpose of the entire law.  Further, what is the most appalling aspect of 2020 is that although problems were encountered in many states with lower-level “turnout” in primary elections months before Election Day, they failed to correct those problems which led to the chaos.

I have no problem with mail-in voting per se. It seems to work in those states that already adopted it in all elections.  There are, of course, obvious problems with it, the biggest being whether the voter knows their vote was even counted.  If any state is going to adopt this system in the future, then it must be backed up with clear rules and regulations understandable to the election officials and voters with no exceptions and not altered by officials or the courts.

Mail in voting is different from absentee voting in that the latter requires a reason.  For example, the person may be out-of-state (but a resident), overseas (the military), an out-of-state college student, etc.  However, after registration violations, the second largest class of certifiable voter fraud cases involves absentee ballots.  There are two problems with them- double voting (rare) and ballot harvesting (widespread).

In ballot harvesting, a third person collects and delivers a number of ballots to officials en masse. California basically codifies the practice.  But a case from my neck of the woods shows its nefariousness involving a local election.  For a city council seat, a Republican woman won the vote on election night by about 1,800 votes.  After the polls closed, someone delivered 3,200 absentee ballots to county officials.  The Republican ended up losing by a little more than 600 votes.

While one can understand third parties delivering ballots to officials in certain cases- the infirm or those in nursing homes- there is actually a way around it and the “pandemic” proved it.  If a county can set up locked drop boxes and county officials collect ballots from those boxes on a regular basis, then a similar regime can be used in hospitals or nursing homes.  Of course, that does nothing for the housebound person, but do they lack a mailbox?  If there is to be any semblance of ballot harvesting, then there must be strict guidelines. 

The best suggestion is to cast your own ballot.  Absent that, limiting the number of ballots any one person can deliver to officials to three per every election cycle might hinder its practice.  While the Democrats, for example, may marshal 20,000 ballot harvesters to garner 60,000 ballots, the likelihood is low, although never discount a corrupt Democrat.  

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